Regardless of the year there's always a steady onset of coaches on and off the hot seat, sometimes warranted and sometimes not. The Big Ten actually retained all of their coaches this offseason after breaking in a pair of new faces at Minnesota and Northwestern last season. While turnover up top was nonexistent this past season, that may not be the case at the end of the 2014-15 season. So with that, who's on the hot seat in the Big Ten?
We can start off the list by removing who's not on the hot seat. Obviously guys like Tom Izzo, Thad Matta, Bo Ryan, and so on are all about as far from the heat seat as you can possibly get. Then you have young guys like Richard Pitino and Chris Collins, who are only in their second season at their respective programs. Then you have a coach like Pat Chambers, who has struggled considerably throughout three seasons, but has worked the best with what he's got and is likely at least another bottom dwelling season away from any real talk of being on the hot seat.
So that leaves us with three guys squarely on the hot seat, all of which have been capable of having success at their program but have had disappointing results as of late.
I think, barring a mass collapse or controversy, Painter should be retained heading into next season as long as the team shows some form of improvement from last season. That being said, though, a decent number of Purdue fans for some unknown reason already have been calling for him to be fired for the last year and see the 2014-15 season as NCAA Tournament or bust. The reality is the last two seasons have been disappointments but it's not like Purdue has been impervious to down seasons in the past and the current rebuild has dealt with some recruiting issues.
The reality is everyone started piling on Painter when his recruiting classes didn't look good on paper, leading him to start targeting some more marquee recruits that were a bit out of his preferred comfort zone. The end result was clashing personalities, ego issues and guys that refused to buy into the system, eventually resulting in quite a bit of premature roster turnover. Now Painter has ventured back towards targeting hard working and disciplined players that appear to be considerably more likely to buy into the program.
The reality is, history and all, top recruits rarely have wanted to come to West Lafayette even when Purdue was a top tier program. The last two seasons have been disappointing but if Painter can start to right the recent miscues there's no reason why he won't be here next season. Of course if the team regresses at all it'll lead to quite a bit of pressure, but at the same time Purdue has shown in the past that they're willing to give time to struggling coaches.
The anti-Tom Crean faction likes to claim he's had two good seasons out of six, but I don't think that's fair considering the first three years where a train wreck thanks to the mess of a program he inherited as he rebuilt the program from the ground up. I think there are some issues here with what Creans done, thanks to an early exit in the 2013 tournament and last seasons debacle, but one or two down years aren't the end of the world. Of course this is Indiana so the pressure to win is even greater, even with the school playing in one of the most balanced and loaded conferences in the nation.
So what we have is a faction of Indiana fans, currently seen almost exclusively online, that believe that the school deserves a better coach and will be looking for any reason to create some noise to make it happen. And if Indiana's lack of depth (and a frontcourt) lead to another year of missing the NCAA Tournament, tensions could be very high. That being said, I think it'd take a situation where Crean digs his own grave to get himself fired this year, but if we don't see improvement then 2015-16 could be a do or die season for Crean's tenure in Bloomington.
It can't be easy following coaching great Gary Williams and it's going to get even harder heading into a stronger basketball conference this fall for Mark Turgeon. Luckily for Turgeon, though, the end of Gary Williams tenure here went out with a bit of a whimper, slightly lowering expectations for the former Texas A&M coach.
I think the problem with Turgeon is his teams have had issues with consistency and not living up to potential. Turgeon has brought in considerably talented recruiting classes throughout his time at College Park and the increase in talent has led many to believe his Terps teams should be competing for NCAA Tournament bids. And of course that belief is only supported even more as Maryland has shown the capability to win big games under Turgeon. The problem is that while the talent base has improved and Maryland can compete with anyone, they also routinely drop games they have no business losing, racking up unnecessary losses and tarnishing their resume.
That's why, while never finishing with a losing record, Maryland has only made one NIT appearance and zero NCAA Tournaments since Turgeon took over. While the increased difficulty of the Big Ten may buy Turgeon an extra season, all the talent and big wins will mean ultimately nothing if he can't get the Terps to the big dance. And from here on out until he can get Maryland into the postseason, it'll be hard to shake the hot seat label. Even more so that the team saw an increase in roster turnover this past offseason, leaving Maryland a bit thinner then they should have been heading into the Big Ten.
Anyway, so what do you guys think? Which coach has the hottest seat heading into 2014-15?